Police have located a white van similar to the one used in the abduction and killing of Brooklyn businessman Menachem Stark and are examining it for evidence, said a law enforcement official who has been briefed on the case.
The Dodge Caravan, believed to be model year 2006 or 2007, was found in Brooklyn, said the official. Someone was attempting to enter the vehicle to drive it when police arrived, but that person is not considered a suspect, the official said.
Stark, 39, was abducted on a Williamsburg street late on the evening of Jan. 2 during a snowstorm. His partly burned body was found the next day in a trash bin at a Getty station on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck. Family friends said it appeared he had suffocated.
Police are not certain the van was used in the abduction, said the official. But the vehicle is being analyzed for hair and fiber evidence as well as any DNA traces, the official said. In addition, the vehicle's license plates and registration are being run through various law enforcement and motor vehicle databases, including NYPD license plate readers active the night of the abduction, the official said.
Stark, the father of seven, was a real estate developer active in Williamsburg and had suffered a number of business reverses in recent years. His company, South Side House LLC, has been under federal bankruptcy protection since 2009 and he had been hit with some foreclosure actions.
Police are looking at whether Stark had borrowed money from criminals, investigators said. A lawyer familiar with the investigation said detectives have been going through lists of vendors who serviced Stark's buildings.
In recent bankruptcy court papers, lawyers for one claimant said there was an "apparent misappropriation" of between $1.2 million and $2 million in money from a South Side bank account.